10 Local Cuisine You Should Try in Okinawa
Okinawa, although a part of Japan, it is probably the one prefecture in Japan that has the most unique culture, history and cuisine! Come and have a taste of Okinawa's unique palette with the following 10 local delights.
May 30 2015 (Sep 09 2020)
Okinawa Soba is not what you are thinking of. It's very different from the usual soba noodles that you get in Japan. The broth has a rich deep flavor and the noodles are springier. The noodles are also served with a generous serving of stewed pork ribs! Locally, these stewed pork ribs are known as Soki. So, don't get confused if some people refer your bowl of Okinawa Soba as Soki Soba. Besides the stewed pork ribs, the noodles are also served with a few slices of Kamaboko, a type of colorful processed seafood product.
2. Ashi Tebichi（Stewed Pig's Trotters）
Don't let the name of the dish put you off. This bowl of stewed pig's trotters is rich in collagen and we know that collagen is the latest super beauty food that a lot of female diners love! The pig's trotters are low in fat content and they've been stewed for a long time with kelp and Japanese white radish to make a yummy rich stew. The meat from the trotters are tender and in Okinawa, this dish is popular among the elderly.
3. Goya Champuru
Goya is a type of bitter gourd and here in Japan during summer, many households will grow goya plants not only as a food source but to provide a cool shade during the hot summer days. This dish is a stir-fry of goya, pork, tofu and eggs. It sounds and looks simple but the taste will amaze you.
4. Jimami Tofu
Jimami in Okinawa refers to peanuts. In other words, jimami tofu would be peanut tofu. You might think that it would taste like goma or sesame tofu but in actual fact the texture of jimami tofu is smoother and it really does slide smoothly down your throat. We probably don't have to stress the fact that jimami tofu is delicious. It really is and it is well loved by all in Okinawa.
5. Sata Andagi305 Seahill/Flickr
Now for some Okinawan dialect time. Sata means sugar. Anda means oil and last but not least Agi is fried. So by now, we are sure you would be able to guess what Sata Andagi means. This delicious fried snack is sweet and crunchy and soft and fluffy inside. But be warned, this sweet delight can be very very addictive.
This Okinawan delight is a type of fermented tofu made from local tofu called shimatofu that has been fermented with malted rice. You might not fancy the first bite but try having it with a little bit of Japanese wine and you'll be able to understand why the locals here love this fermented tofu and why some can't stop having this tofu daily!
It's just like a pork stew but slightly different. The pork is super tender to the point that you won't have any problems tearing the meat apart just by using your chopsticks. The stewed meat literally melts in your mouth and it wouldn't serve as a surprise why the elderly would love this dish. This stew is commonly served with Okinawa Soba or as a main dish during special occasions or on New Year's day.
8. Mimiga Sashimi (Pickled Pork's Ears)
The people in Okinawa are known for being able to come up with many ways to use every single part of the pig as their food source. Hence, don't be too shocked to find pickled pig's ears on their menu or on the shelves at the convenience stores in Okinawa! You might find it crazy but wait till you try it. You would love its crunchy texture and it really does taste delicious. It also goes well with Japanese wine.
9. Nakami no Suimono
Well, we now know that Okinawa makes delicious dishes from pig's trotters, pork belly and pig's ears. Would that be all then? Well, Okinawa doesn't stop there when it comes to pork. They've come up with a great way to serve pig intestines too with this Nakami no Suimono dish, which is served only during special occasions. The intestines have been stewed for a long time and the dish is surprisingly light in taste.
10. Irabu Jiru (Sea-snake Soup)
Yes, we are not kidding here. This soup really does use a sea-snake as its ingredient. This soup here is nutritious and said to be the go-to food when you are feeling lethargic! The people in Okinawa take this soup for its anti-aging properties, its ability to reduce blood pressure and to heal fevers. You might need to do a little bit of research on which restaurants serve this dish and maybe call them up in advance because it takes a lot of effort and time to make this healthy dish!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.